The second day of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division tournament on Lake Guntersville proved as remarkable as the first – or perhaps better, considering today’s parade of big fish included a 12-pound, 10-ounce behemoth caught by fourth-place pro Trevor Fitzgerald for the day’s Big Bass prize.
Joe Hall of Lake City, Minn., is in first with 55-6, but he is certainly not uncatchable. Only the top 10 are competing tomorrow, and with the way Guntersville is fishing right now, it will be anyone’s game.
Read about Joe Hall’s day-two performance here. What follows are the patterns of the rest of the top five pros.
2nd Place – Cameron Gautney – 53 pounds, 10 ounces
Cameron Gautney hails from nearby Muscle Shoals, Ala., and will need all of his local wiles to overcome a stout group of anglers if he’s going to regain the lead and take home the win. Gautney added to his day-one catch of 33 pounds, 8 ounces with five bass worth 20-2 on the second day.
Day two frustrated Gautney in multiple ways. He lost a few fish that he feels were big and also had to share water with fellow pro Billy Brindle, who caught more than 30 pounds and rose from 70th place to seventh.
“It’s part of fishing. That’s just how it is sometimes,” says Gautney of the boat pressure. “I caught seven keepers today, and I probably had between 10 and 12 bites. That spot is about one cast. If you aren’t making it you are pretty much just throwing at dead water.”
Gautney may have been frustrated, but he scrounged up his limit on his primary spot as well as a few secondary locations to stay in contention.
“I couldn’t throw my crankbait today because I couldn’t position myself for it,” says Gautney, who landed most of his day-two catch on a single swimbait and umbrella rig. “That’s how I’d been getting my bigger bites.”
Gautney is hopeful for day three, and he’ll almost certainly be the first one on his spot.
“I guarantee you there’s another 30-pound bag on that spot,” he adds. “But, there have been probably more than 100 fish caught off that spot the last two days. Tomorrow is probably going to be a grind.”
3rd Place – Jay Kendrick – 52 pounds, 2 ounces
Jay Kendrick of Grant, Ala., has been catching them slow and steady to reach his two-day total of 52 pounds, 2 ounces.
“I only went to one good spot today, so I didn’t have to go to any of my other stuff,” says Kendrick. “I did hit one spot at the end of the day and caught a few solid ones off of it, but it wasn’t any help.
“I’m going to stick with what I’m doing. My weights are going up, and I can’t see a reason to change,” he adds. “There are other boats around me fishing different ways, and they’re not catching them, so I think I’m doing the right thing.”
Kendrick declined to say what the “right thing” was, but did divulge that he is fishing quite deep.
4th Place – Trevor Fitzgerald – 51 pounds, 14 ounces
Belleview, Fla., pro Trevor Fitzgerald seems to be well on his way to earning the Strike King Angler of the Year award in the Southeast Division after making the top 10 in back-to-back events. On day two, he caught an even 30 pounds to rise from 26th place to fourth.
“I made the decision to fish a totally different area than I did yesterday,” says Fitzgerald. “I tried to get on it yesterday afternoon, but the wind was blowing in on it too bad and I couldn’t position myself.
“It’s just a shell bed; you can see them on the graph,” Fitzgerald says of his spot, which is close to where Gautney is fishing. “I’ve seen a lot of guys farther out, but I’ve been catching some better ones up shallower.”
Though he caught much of his weight off one shell bed, Fitzgerald caught his 12-pounder at a separate area on the second cast he made there. He also added a 3-pounder to his limit from another spot and fished all new water from 1:30 p.m. until the end of the day.
“I feel pretty good about going out and catching them again tomorrow, but today was just one of those great days,” Fitzgerald adds.
According to Fitzgerald, he is catching all his fish on either a Shane’s Baits 5th Element umbrella rig or a single Basstrix swimbait.
5th Place – Rob Digh – 48 pounds, 9 ounces
Rob Digh of Denver, N.C., has stayed consistent and landed right around 24 pounds two days in a row for a total of 48 pounds, 12 ounces.
“I’ve had some really good bites, but I haven’t been able to land all of them,” says Digh. “I’ve been fortunate to have enough bites to make up for that.
“I hadn’t been here in 15 years, but I found some in spawning areas and I just went into those areas and started fishing,” he adds. “I’m basically running the bank where there is a little grass.”
As one of the only pros in the top five truly fishing shallow, Digh might have a shot to make a move if warmer weather nudges the bass closer to the spawn.
“I’ve been mixing it up a little, but mostly I’ve been using a Shane’s Baits Blades of Glory umbrella rig,” Digh concludes.
See all photos from day two on the water, here.